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Wildlife
Ruling Threatens Water Board Finances
By Fritz Elmendorf

The water board, or Asada, for the American Project must comply with a regulatory order to sharply reduce its rates to levels charged by other Asadas in Costa Rica, and while an appeal will be successful, it must lower its rates for the months during the repeal, it was reported at an emergency meeting Dec. 16.

Water board President Rick Walker said the bills coming out for December will show the lower rate, and ask that homeowners continue voluntarily to pay at the old rate, which will be listed on the bill as an aporte comunal, or voluntary contribution. If not, the system will not be able to fund its operations because there is less than two months of cash on hand, according to Linda Cox, who reported on the financial situation facing the Asada.

Walker said the Asada will not be able to function with the new rate structure. Further, the water regulator, known as AyA, has threatened to take over the system, he said. In addition to quick service when a water pipe breaks, also threatened is the addition of a new well and a tank, Walker mentioned. The well will tap a large aquifer, based on the findings of a water survey commissioned by the board last year, and Walker said it would meet the needs of the Project for 20 years.

Several local builders and developers at the meeting complained about the current moratorium on new water meters, which has prevented some local projects from getting their building permits. The moratorium was approved by the seven member board in October without warning, leaving projects stalled or cancelled and workers idle, according to the developers. Walker said that the moratorium is a separate issue and that the board believes that until the new tank is online, there is not enough extra water capacity for new construction. Builders have pointed to a constitutional right to water in Costa Rica and charge that the moratorium is illegal.

For 15 years, the NCA (Nosara Civic Association who was in charge of providing water until 2004) had an approval from ARESEP (Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Publicos) to charge rates much higher than prevailing rates. That expired and ARESEP approved a new rate schedule. An individual, who Walker said he would not identify, filed for an injunction against the local rates, and ARESEP handed down its ruling that the rates could not be higher than that approved for the rest of the country.

Walker said that it would cost the Asada $8,000 in legal fees to file the appeal and that it might take three to 12 months for a decision. Board members are elected by registered water users every two years and the next election is in February 11.

More Regional News

The Fine Line Between “Eco” and “Tourism”

Costa Rica is a small country rich in biodiversity and natural beauty that has done a commendable job marketing itself as a premier ecotourism destination. The country is teeming with wildlife and endangered species such as the leatherback turtle find refuge on its secluded beaches as other habitats are ruined by development. More >

Sámara A.S.A.D.A. Prepares for 2010 - Water Board Enters the New Year with
Inadequate Budget and One Less Member

On Saturday November 21st Members of Samara’s Water Board met for the Annual Sámara AyA Assembly in Samara’s community hall to announce and analyze Board Member reports, hear motions and agreements, and elect 2010 Board members. The assembly presented the 15-20 attendees with the 2009 annual budget, aquifer water level records and the opportunity to voice questions and commentaries of the community. More >

Municipalidad approved the start of operations of the Gas Station

On December 21st, eight years of disputes between the Nosara Civic Association (NCA) and the gas station’s owner, Roberto Suárez Villalobos, were left behind as the Consejo Municipal (Town Council) granted the operation permits for the gas station; six out of the seven councillors were in favor of granting the permits – José Antonio Méndez was the only one who opposed–. More >

According to the Sala Constitucional not everyone will have to leave Ostional

The most recent ruling issued by the Sala Constitucional ordered the Ministerio Ambiente, Energía y Telecomunicaciones (Minaet) and the Dirección Regional del Área de Conservación Tempisque (ACT) to evict only the individuals or corporate entities that may affect the massive nesting of the Olive Ridley Sea Turtle at the Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Ostional. More >

The “Mujeres de Matapalo” Project receives government help to start Micro-Business

SAMARA – Officially registered with the Nicoya Municipality Women’s Office in January 2009, “Women 2009 Matapalo” is the formation of 12 local women who have come together “trying to seek new alternatives to face the economic crisis and the multiple obligations that we manage for the great responsibility of moving our children ahead and creating a favorable atmosphere”. More >

Nosara's Periferal Bus Service is still not possible

The 30 kilometers that separate Nosara from Samara have become an ordeal for those who use this road on a daily basis to travel to Nicoya and vice-versa, using mainly the bus service for doing so.

According to Eliecer Rojas, General Manager of the Traroc, the bus company currently in charge of providing the Nicoya-Nosara bus service, it is pitiful that the service cannot be provided in an adequate way, since road conditions do not allow the company to make use of top class vehicles. More >

Nicoya City Urban Area Routes Come to Stand Still

The traffic disorder experience in the city of Nicoya during the last few months continues to bother and worry residents, who urgently require a new code. Absent, fallen or poorly placed road signs, blurry or nonexistent boundaries, vehicles parked in yellow zones or taxi stands and cars going the wrong way any hour of the day are some of the irregularities seen in the case of colonial Nicoya’s urban city center.
More >

Change From Analog TV to Digital Off to a Controversial Start

The step from the analog television system to digital television in Costa Rica had its first controversies after the government formed a commission to analyze which is the most convenient platform for the country, without taking in to account the University of Costa Rica (UCR). On November 5th the Minister of the Presidency, Rodrigo Arias, announced the formation of the Special Mixed Commission that will be headed by the vice minister of Telecommunications, Hannia Vega. This commission must provide a report by March 30th 2010, with the end result to make a decision of which of the five available technologies the country will adapt. More >

 

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